Pennsylvania Workplace Injury Statistics
The tendency when considering the nature of work-related maladies is to imagine cases of carpal tunnel syndrome for those who work in data entry, or to think of bruising suffered due to a fall on a poorly maintained or wet surface. But workplace injuries and illnesses are more widespread and severe than you may realize.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor, in Pennsylvania in 2006 there were 110,657 work injuries and illnesses, 133 of which were fatal. The most common injuries were sprains and strains (43.1 %), but significant numbers of people also sustained fractures, burns, and amputation-related wounds or developed diseases attributable to their occupation:
- Fracture – 6.0 %
- Occupational Disease – 2.4%
- Burns: Heat & Chemical – 2.0%
- Amputation, Enucleation, Loss of Use – 0.5 %
More injuries impacted the upper extremities (arms, wrists, hands, fingers, shoulders – 32.9%) than any other regions, but the back suffered the highest rate of injury to an individual body part, accounting for 17.1 % of all reported cases. This is critical to understanding the potential hazards of the workplace, because an injury to the back can make even the most basic functions such as sitting, standing, and walking excruciatingly painful.
It is for these reasons that protections like the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act are vital to injured workers and their families, helping them cope in a time of economic hardship brought on by accidents at the workplace.